Mental illness runs in families. The FAMILY consortium aims to improve the life of mentally-ill persons with novel prediction models that are based on better understanding the mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of mental illness. The objectives are to improve causal understanding and gain prediction power from the family context by the innovative combination of statistical modelling of genetically informed designs, causal inference, multimodal and multilevel normative prediction, and molecular mapping, brought by world-leading neuroscientific expertise of the consortium, and address key bioethical and social issues raised by the concept of intergenerational risk transmission and risk prediction.
FAMILY will bring together the largest existing human (epi)genetic and neuroimaging datasets from both within-family population cohorts and familial high-risk offspring studies, as well as utilise innovative animal models to shed light on pathways underlying intergenerational risk transmission. FAMILY will focus specifically on risk for mood and psychosis symptoms and diagnoses. In-depth causal analyses of how and when risk for mental illness occurs will help identify early risk and resilience factors and predict who is likely to be diagnosed or develop symptoms of mental illness.
Advanced insights can uncover new targets for the development of preventive strategies to break the intergenerational cycle of mental illness and to support strengths and resource building. An immediate benefit will be to open direct translational perspectives to mental health care professionals by providing new (family-based) risk prediction tools for the early identification of adults and children at risk and to deliver ethical guidelines to guide its implementation. This will accelerate preventive and treatment intervention in vulnerable families and help target resilience strategies to prevent the transition from health to disease despite high familial risk.
ESCAP is proud and excited to be part of FAMILY, together with research groups from the Netherlands (Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Radboud University Medical Center), UK (University College London), Germany (Leibzig Institute for resilience Research, Concentris), Switzerland (Zurich University,; Vaudois University Medical Center, Lausanne), Letvia (Letvia University, Riga), Italy (University of Perugia, Perugia), Norway (Norwegian Institute of Public Health), Spain (Fundacio privada Clinic per a la Recerca Bomedica Barcelona, Fundación Investigación Biomedica Hospital Gregorio Marañón, Madrid), and Denmark (Region Hovedstaden) and with the European Federation of Family members Affected with Mental Illness (EUFAMI).
ESCAP and EUFAMI will support FAMILY by seeking active engagement of family members, patients, and mental health care professions in research studies on the social and ethical consequences of risk prediction in clinical practise. Also, ESCAP will support FAMILY with dissemination through the established communication channels focussing on clinical, scientific and policy making stakeholders.
Funded by the European Union, the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government's Horizon Europe funding guarantee'. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, or the European Research Executive Agency (REA), the SERI or the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Neither the European Union nor the granting authorities can be held responsible for them.